Yanks rally to beat Bos­ton

Yan­kees’ bats fi­nally wake up vs. ex- Met Sur­vive crazy 9th to stun Red Sox

New York Post - - FRONT PAGE - Larry Brooks larry.brooks@ny­post.com

Aaron Hicks cel­e­brates af­ter belt­ing a two-run homer which sparked a five-run rally in the eighth to lead the Yan­kees to a 5-3 win over the Red Sox on Fri­day night at the Sta­dium. The Bombers did most of their dam­age against ex-Met Ad­di­son Reed (inset).

IT WAS the arm in the ninth in­ning that saved it, only the arm this time did not be­long to Aroldis Chap­man, even with the left-handed closer on the mound.

The arm be­longed to left fielder Aaron Hicks.

Or, as man­ager Joe Gi­rardi noted af­ter Fri­day’s stir­ring 5-4 vic­tory over the first-place Red Sox, “A re­ally good arm.”

This was one that seemed to come from the first half of the sea­son, when the Yan­kees were such an un­ex­pect­edly pleas­ant story un­en­cum­bered by even the slight­est of ex­pec­ta­tions.

More than that? This was one from out of nowhere re­ally, the Yan­kees lim­ited to two hits and down 3-0 be­fore tak­ing their turn in the bot­tom of the eighth, a 5 ¹/ 2-game deficit to first-place Bos­ton just six outs away.

It seemed as if all the spring and sum­mer laugh­ter would fade to sor­row just as Aaron Judge was mor­ph­ing from Joe Hardy to Joe Boyd in front of our very eyes, this sec­ond half ver­sion of the 2017 pre-All-Star phe­nom some­how a mir­ror im­age of his 2016 sec­ond-half de­but.

But the Yan­kees did not slink off down­trod­den into this Bronx night. In­stead, they scored five times in the eighth in­ning, the first two com­ing on a home run by Hicks against for­mer Mets re­liever Ad­di­son Reed, who did not get an out fac­ing four bat­ters upon his re­turn to the bor­oughs and was the los­ing pitcher.

So it was 5-3, Yan­kees, af­ter eight. Dis­as­ter in the form of an eighth loss in 12 games would be averted. Af­ter all, the ball was in the val­ued hand of Chap­man.

Ball, ac­tu­ally, was the op­er­a­tive word, with Chap­man throw­ing eight on his first nine pitches to walk Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ed­uardo Nunez. And then there were four more from Chap­man, who had pitched only once this month, an in­ning in get­ting the 2-1 save last Satur­day in Cleveland.

Now he had walked the bases loaded with none out via his full­count pass to Mookie Betts.

The carousel was spin­ning off its axis. The desul­tory loss that seemed to be­come an elec­tri­fy­ing vic­tory now seemed on the brink of dev­as­tat­ing de­feat.

Gi­rardi said a loss “would not be the end of the world,” which would most cer­tainly be true in the con­text of North Korea, but would have been close enough to fill­ing that de­scrip­tion in the con­text of a pen­nant race.

Dellin Be­tances was up in the bullpen. Even with a back end for­ti­fied to be im­pen­e­tra­ble with the pre­dead­line ac­qui­si­tions of David Robert­son and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox, the Yan­kees were tee­ter­ing. Their sin­gu­lar strength was go­ing to be their un­do­ing.

But not so fast. Not with Hicks in left field. Not with Todd Fra­zier play­ing third base. Not with fa­mil­iar face Nunez on the basepa­ths.

An­drew Ben­in­tendi, who had smoked a fifth-in­ning solo home run into the right-field sec­ond deck off Jaime Gar­cia, poled one deep to left, where Hicks pulled it down. Bradley tagged up from third and scored eas­ily.

Nunez tagged up from sec­ond, and …

“He’s an ag­gres­sive player and al­ways has been, He makes things hap­pen,” Gi­rardi said of his for­mer util­ity in­fielder, whose great­est util­ity was al­ways swing­ing the bat. “A lot more than not, his teams ben­e­fit from it.”

Not this time. Not with Hicks un­cork­ing a ter­rific throw and Fra­zier mak­ing a nifty one-hop back­hand stab and an al­most in­stan­ta­neous whirling tag that nipped Nunez as he kicked up a cloud of dust.

“If it hap­pened to­mor­row, I would take the chance to­mor­row again,” Nunez said af­ter the call, which was up­held on video review. “That’s how you play the game. That was a great throw, that was a great pick by Fra­zier and he made the tag. Have to give credit to them.”

Hicks, in his sec­ond game back af­ter a lengthy stay on the dis­abled list, said he was not sur­prised by Nunez’s ag­gres­sive­ness. Fra­zier, in the field with Hicks for the sec­ond time, said he knew Hicks had a strong arm, but not strong,

And so there were two out, the score was 5-4 and the ty­ing run was at sec­ond base af­ter Betts had moved up on the throw. Which is where it and he re­mained when Chap­man got Mitch More­land to fly out to cen­ter field to end the ball­game.

It was the most sig­nif­i­cant win of the sea­son and it came cour­tesy of the ninth-in­ning arm. Not Chap­man’s, but Hicks’.

That kind of night in The Bronx.

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